Are HMRC digital tax accounts a good or bad thing?

Are HMRC digital tax accounts a good or bad thing?

Taxpayers will start to be able to manage their tax affairs online with the formal launch of personal tax accounts by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

By mid-December 2015, more than one million taxpayers completing their self-assessment will have been directed to their online personal tax account, HMRC has said.

These personal tax accounts, which will work in a similar way to online banking, promise to give people a “clear and joined-up view” of the tax they pay and enable them to update their tax details, supposedly removing the need to resubmit information.

Personal tax accounts

The launch of personal tax accounts is part of a drive towards a fully digital tax service. Two million businesses are already using their digital accounts and by April 2016, all of the UK’s five million small businesses will have access to their own digital account.

Every individual taxpayer will also have access to their own digital account by April 2016.

HMRC have said that by 2020 businesses and individual taxpayers will be able to register, file, pay and update their information at any time of the day, and at any point in the year, to suit them. For the vast majority, there will be no need to fill in an annual tax return. This will make it hugely important that you take the right advice from a professional or firm of Accountants.

At the moment, the information that HMRC receives from a range of sources is held on separate systems. This can mean taxpayers being asked to give information to the taxman that it already holds on another system.

The new digital tax accounts will join up the information HMRC holds in one place.

HMRC additional information and control

However some see it as not only being unable to cope but as an ulterior way of gleaning additional information and control.

One such quote from a tax blog;

“The real objective is to spy on your financial affairs 365 days a year and take what they think is the tax you owe directly from your bank account whenever they feel like it. After all these years, the present on-line system is a hopelessly unreliable mess.”

This may be an extreme view, but it is certain that the current systems and advice lines are struggling to cope with demand, wait times are increasing and historic legacy systems have not delivered as promised.

So, do you know what this means to you? Are you concerned, and if so by what?

Are HMRC digital tax accounts a good or bad thing?

Let us have your comments, views and concerns @OmnitasTax – we would love to hear your thoughts! Of course, if you require any tax or general accounting advice, feel free to call us on 01902 837 408 today!

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